While Team USA’s World Cup squad was marching to a gold medal win in Italy, the 18U National Team got off to a hot start in the COPABE “AAA” Pan American Championships in Venezuela. They are 3-0 after beating Aruba, Argentina and Panama by a combined score of 41-3.
In Friday’s opener against Aruba, shortstop Manny Machado (Brito HS, Miami) went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs scored while outfielder Brian Ragira (Martin HS, Arlington, Texas) knocked in three runs with his 2-for-4 performance. Righthander A.J. Vanegas (Redwood Christian HS, San Lorenzo, Calif.) started the game and went four innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out five. Team USA won 13-3.
On Saturday, catcher Bryce Harper (College of Southern Nevada) led the U.S. to a 14-0 rout of Argentina with two doubles and two RBIs. Machado contributed again with three RBIs. Lefthander Phillip Pfeifer (Farragut HS, Knoxville) earned the win, tossing six innings while allow just two hits and striking out 11.
The hit parade continued into Sunday against Panama as the 4-8 hitters for Team USA all collected at least one hit and one RBI. Designated hitter Nick Castellanos (Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla.) went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs while 2011 graduate Nick Delmonico—a prep teammate of Pfeifer—went 2-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Righthander and No. 1 high school prospect Jameson Taillon got the start and went six innings, allowing three hits, two walks and striking out 12.
Team USA plays Colombia today at 6:30 p.m. Eastern and will get a day off Tuesday before facing rival Cuba on Wednesday.
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